Meghan Chenoweth

MSc 2010

Meghan is currently completing her PhD at University of Toronto in Pharmacogenetics.


Master's Research

Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays many important roles within the   immune system. For example, IL-15 is not only vital for the homeostasis and function of innate natural killer cells, but also maintains adaptive CD8+ memory T cell populations. IL-15 signals are delivered to these cells in vivo via trans-presentation, where accessory cells including macrophages and dendritic cells present IL-15 bound to its high affinity IL-15Rα chain in trans to the IL-2/IL-15Rβ and common γc chains expressed by responsive NK cells and CD8+ memory T cells. The trans-presentation of IL-15, which involves direct cell-to-cell contact and geographic compartmentalization of delivered signals, is thought to be the dominant means by which IL-15 signals in vivo. Alternatively, in monocytes and macrophages, IL-15 can signal via reverse signaling, leading to cell adhesion and cytokine production. In this model, membrane-bound IL-15 on the surface of the monocyte or macrophage performs as a receptor, while soluble IL-15Rα behaves as a ligand.

The focus of my study is to explore IL-15 and IL-15 receptor biology by investigating potential mechanisms of IL-15 signaling other than trans-presentation and reverse signaling, utilizing predominantly in vitro methodology. It is our ultimate goal that additional insights into the biology of IL-15 and its receptor may lead to novel therapeutic strategies aimed at bolstering immune responses against cancer and infectious disease.




2008-2010   NSERC CGS Master’s award

2008   Ontario Graduate Scholarship (declined to accept NSERC)

2008   Pari Basrur Research Award of Merit


2008   McMaster University Entrance Scholarship

2006-2008   College of Biological Sciences Roll of Distinction

2004   University of Guelph Entrance Scholarship

2004   McArthur Humphries Scholarship

2004   Frederick Hutt Scholarship- Biological Science


  • Guelph Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (2009)
  • Ontario Quest for Gold Athlete in Softball (2008-2009)
  • All-Star First Baseman Award, Women’s Intercollegiate National Softball Championship (2009)
  • All-Star Third Baseman Award, Women’s Junior National Softball Championship (2008)
  • Provincial Women’s Softball Association of Ontario Scholarship (2004-2006)